What They Are

exploring the murky tide pools
we gaze upon a world so far away
within arms reach it scurries out of sight
it hides itself in protection
we can probe and poke all we want
but it will retract in disgust and dismay

with patience it reappears
and blesses us with its beauty
slowly the creatures show themselves
disclosing only what they want us to know
understandably cautious they demand respect
and let us know them
not for what they are
but for what they want to be for us

not with knowledge
only with list and cunning
can we capture them
when they offer themselves to our need
they let us be
only when we let them be
what they are
beyond our grasp

they are not ours
they are themselves
we do not understand them by dissecting them
they become ours
only in a form they themselves allow
and that we
in turn
must grant and heed